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Global Imports forecast 2023 news - MFC

Imports Continue Slow Climb Despite Cuts in 2023 Forecast - The Maritime Executive

The Global Port Tracker has not yet forecast the full year, but the third quarter is expected to total 6 million TEU, down 7.2 percent from the same time last year. The first nine months of the year would total 16.5 million TEU, down 17.8 percent year over year. Imports for all of 2022 totaled 25.5 million TEU, down 1.2 percent from the annual record of 25.8 million TEU set in 2021.

“With economic uncertainty continuing, the impact on trade is clear,” said Ben Hackett, Founder of Hackett Associates, noting continued high inflation, Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, and recent bank failures. “Year-over-year import volumes have been on the decline at most ports since late last year and declining exports out of China highlight the slowdown in demand for consumer goods. Our view is that imports will remain below recent levels until inflation rates and inventory surpluses are reduced.”

On a month-to-month basis, the NRF sees imports coming up from a low of 1.55 million TEU in February. They expect that it will return to the 2 million TEU level in July and August. Monthly rates, however, are expected to be down more than 20 percent in April and May before rising slightly to a nearly 16 percent decline for June. Third quarter monthly declines however are expected to continue to reflect the slow climb back in import levels falling to an 8 percent decline in July, nearly 10 percent in August, and 3.4 percent in September marking a year since the volume declines began to accelerate across the shipping industry. 

The NRF expects that import levels will remain well below last year’s levels heading into the fall of 2023. Last year, they reported that retailers were advance shipments for the typically busy fall and holiday sales periods to get merchandise into warehouses before the expiration of the West Coast longshore union contracts. Traditionally, the summer and fall see import increases as retailers stock up, but this year economists have noted that inventory levels remain high.

To read it in The Maritime Executive : click here